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Health

How To Find Balance When Your World Is Spinning

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Posted By: Bryan Boorman

Do you sometimes get dizzy for no ‘apparent’ reason?  Did you know it could be due to an injury to your inner ear?  The technical term for this is a vestibular system injury.  The vestibular system provides information to your brain about the movement and position of your head. The vestibular system is located on both sides of the head, in the inner ear, and is considered the ‘balance center’ of the body. Vestibular therapy is aimed at restoring optimal function for individuals with dysfunction or injury in this system.

Here are some images we found online to help describe the vestibular system.

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Common symptoms associated with vestibular dysfunction include dizziness, vertigo, and disequilibrium or imbalance.  Although vertigo is a type of dizziness, it is unique from other types of dizziness because it causes the person to feel that their surroundings are moving, usually in a spinning direction.

The most common cause of vertigo is a condition called “BPPV”, which stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This problem occurs when crystals in the inner ear migrate into a canal where they are not supposed to be. The result can be vertigo.

BPPV has unique identifying characteristics: the vertigo occurs when the head is in certain positions, and typically only lasts for 10 to 15 seconds at a time. A common example is: “I lay down in bed on my side and for a few seconds it feels as though the room spins around in circles”.

In addition to the symptom of vertigo, individuals with BPPV will often report other symptoms such as feeling “a little bit dizzy”, or “off”, or “in a fog”, with movement of their head during normal daily activities.

Good News! BPPV is easy to diagnose and responds very quickly to treatment when performed properly by a therapist trained in vestibular rehabilitation. Usually only one or two treatments are required to make the vertigo stop, and the other associated symptoms will generally resolve within days or a couple of weeks afterward.

If you have symptoms of BPPV, contact Pursuit Physiotherapy to see Bryan Boorman, vestibular physiotherapist. The sooner you get in to have the diagnosis confirmed and get the appropriate treatment, the more quickly you will feel like yourself again!

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Health

B.C. seniors advocate questions why undiagnosed elderly getting antipsychotics

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VANCOUVER — A quarter of people living in long-term care homes in British Columbia are receiving antipsychotic medication without a supporting diagnosis even though they have lower rates of psychiatric and mood disorders compared with their counterparts elsewhere in Canada, says the province’s advocate for seniors.

Isobel Mackenzie said that while long-term care residents in the province have slightly higher rates of dementia their rates of moderate to severe dementia are lower in comparison so the higher use of antipsychotics is troubling.

“They weren’t on an antipsychotics when they got to a care home and then we put them on an antipsychotic. Why?”

Staffing hours in B.C. are not related to the use of the drugs, Mackenzie said Thursday.

“There is no apparent clinical reason why our residents should be receiving more off label antipsychotics than similar populations in other provinces. In fact, the clinical information supports that it should be less.”

Antipsychotic medication, which is more powerful than antidepressants, is typically prescribed “off label” to treat dementia, schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis but it is not approved to treat those conditions.

Mackenzie said that in the last five years, B.C. has managed to reduce the use of antipsychotics by 22 per cent for undiagnosed seniors but it hasn’t made any gains in the last year.

Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario have done better in decreasing misuse of the drugs and it’s time for B.C. to take more action, she said of data collected from the provinces by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

“The gains we were making were not as significant as those provinces were making, which were starting already from a place of lower prescribing,” Mackenzie said.

Ontario’s rate of prescribing antipsychotics to seniors in long-term care was 30.5 per cent in 2013-14, but decreased by 35.6 per cent in 2017-18, the institute says.

Mackenzie said many seniors are heavy users of multiple medications but as a group are typically excluded from clinical trials.

Elderly people in care homes may not even be capable of providing consent for medications and what may be side effects, including confusion and fatigue, may be wrongly attributed to aging, she said.

However, both prescribing doctors and family members may consider antipsychotics, which can have serious side effects, an answer to non-psychosis issues, Mackenzie said.

“There will be family members who say, ‘My mom’s agitated, do something about it.’ Pressure, pressure, pressure.”

Many residents in care homes would be better off with an adequate assisted-living program and provincial rent subsidies, Mackenzie said.

Leslie Remund, executive director of the 411 Seniors Centre Society, said care homes are a cheaper alternative. But she said better rental policies for seniors would save the government money and a recent raise in a shelter aid program for elderly renters doesn’t provide enough money in high-priced markets.

“We saw about 1,800 individuals last year and one third of those people came to us for housing needs, both precariously housed, at risk of losing their housing or absolute homelessness.”

Other data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information says long-term care homes in B.C. appear to be healthier than the national average, with lower rates of depression, arthritis and heart and circulatory disease.

The agency says B.C. seniors in home care are less frail than those in other provinces but are 16 per cent more likely to have limited or no social engagement compared with the national average.

— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


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#Let’s Walk is a simple yet brilliant idea

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Ryan Langlois is a local singer-songwriter who’s come up with a really simple yet powerful concept. Go for a one hour walk with another person – and talk to one another.  The idea came out of Project Wild, a professional development program for country artists in the province.

Until October 4th, Ryan is walking everyday with someone different.  He reached out to me a few weeks ago and I thought why not!  I’ve admired Ryan’s command of the stage as front man for Boom Chukka Boys, and on his own in our studio recording one of his latest songs with just his acoustic guitar, his preferred way of performing these days.

“I just got kind of tired of the amount of effort it takes to be in a successful band.  Logistics, personalities, travel, not to mention having a family-  it’s just too much and I wanted to simplify,” said Langlois.

So off we walked into our beautiful Red Deer trail system to catch the remnants of the late afternoon sun and talk to one another.

Watch the video to learn more about Ryan and this amazingly simple and powerful approach to bringing awareness to mental health.

 

You can help Ryan reach his $1000 goal by clicking here.  Funds go directly to the Central Alberta region of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

 

 

 


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